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Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes

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AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Model A319-115 and -132 airplanes, and Model A320-214, -232, and -233 airplanes. This AD requires revising the airplane flight manual (AFM) to include information that introduces a fuel limitation for certain types of fuel and a fuel gravity feed ceiling procedure for airplanes equipped with jet pumps. This AD was prompted by a report indicating that certain modified airplanes do not have electrical ground wires on the fuel level sensing control unit (FLSCU), which adversely affects gravity feeding operation. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective January 3, 2017.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of January 3, 2017.

We must receive comments on this AD by January 30, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.
  • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
  • Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone: +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax: +33 5 61 93 44 51; email: account.airworth-eas@airbus.com; Internet: http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-9515.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-9515; or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations office (telephone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone: 425-227-1405; fax: 425-227-1149.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA AD 2016-0205, dated October 13, 2016 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Airbus Model A319-115 and -132 airplanes, and Model A320-214, -232, and -233 airplanes. The MCAI states:

Airbus introduced mod 154327 on A319 and A320 aeroplanes which substituted the pump fuel feed system from the centre fuel tank with a jet pump transfer system, based on the Airbus A321 design.

Following the modification introduction, it was discovered that the modified aeroplanes do not have electrical ground signals that replicate those from the deleted centre tank pump pressure switches. These signals are used as part of the fuel recirculation inhibition request logic.

Subsequent investigation determined that ground wires had not been installed on the Fuel Level Sensing Control Units (FLSCU) of the modified A319 and A320 aeroplanes, due to a drawing error on the fuel system recirculation Principle Diagram. Without these ground wires providing inputs, the FLSCU logic is not correctly implemented for gravity feeding operation.

This condition, if not corrected, could lead to reduced fuel pressure at the engine inlet, possibly resulting in an uncommanded in-flight shut-down when flying at the gravity feed ceiling levels, as defined in the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM).

To address this potential unsafe condition, Airbus issued AFM Temporary Revision (TR) 695 Issue 1 and AFM TR699 Issue 1 to prohibit the use of Jet B and JP4 fuel and AFM TR700 Issue 1 to provide instructions for amendment of the gravity feed procedure for the other fuels.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires amendment of the applicable AFM to include the new gravity feed procedure and reduce the list of authorised fuels.

This [EASA] AD is considered to be an interim measure and further [EASA] AD action may follow.

You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-9515.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Airbus has issued the following service information.

  • Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR695, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016; and Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR699, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016. This service information describes revising the Limitations section of the AFM to include a fuel limitation that removes JET B and JP4 fuels from the list of usable fuels for airplanes equipped with jet pumps. These documents are distinct since they apply to different airplane configurations.
  • Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR700, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016. This service information describes revising the Abnormal Procedures section of the AFM to include information to modify the fuel gravity feed ceiling procedure for airplanes equipped with jet pumps.

This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This AD

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the State of Design Authority, we have been notified of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all pertinent information and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs.

Interim Action

We consider this AD interim action. If final action is later identified, we might consider further rulemaking at that time.

FAA's Determination of the Effective Date

An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice Start Printed Page 90973and comment prior to adoption of this rule because the current AFM procedure may lead to reduced fuel pressure at the engine inlet, possibly resulting in an uncommanded in-flight shutdown when flying at the fuel gravity feed ceiling levels. Therefore, we determined that notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing this AD are impracticable and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in fewer than 30 days.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not precede it by notice and opportunity for public comment. We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2016-9515; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-181-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD based on those comments.

We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this AD.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 58 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We also estimate that it will take about 1 work-hour per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $4,930, or $85 per product.

Authority for This Rulemaking

Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. “Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs,” describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.

We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in “Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: General requirements.” Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this rulemaking action.

Regulatory Findings

We determined that this AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This AD will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this AD:

1. Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866;

2. Is not a “significant rule” under the DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979);

3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

4. Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

  • Air transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Aviation safety
  • Incorporation by reference
  • Safety
End List of Subjects

Adoption of the Amendment

Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends 14 CFR part 39 as follows:

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PART 39—AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES

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1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.

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[Amended]
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2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD):

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2016-25-23 Airbus: Amendment 39-18749; Docket No. FAA-2016-9515; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-181-AD.

(a) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective January 3, 2017.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to Airbus Model A319-115 and -132 airplanes, and Model A320-214, -232, and -233 airplanes, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers on which Airbus modification 154327 has been embodied in production.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 28, Fuel.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a report indicating that, for airplanes on which Airbus modification 154327 (which substitutes the pump fuel feed system from the center fuel tank with a jet pump transfer system) was done, the modified airplanes do not have electrical ground wires on the fuel level sensing control unit (FLSCU), which adversely affects gravity feeding operation. We are issuing this AD to prevent reduced fuel pressure at the engine inlet, potentially resulting in an uncommanded in-flight shutdown when flying at the fuel gravity feed ceiling levels.

(f) Compliance

Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

(g) Revision of the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM)

(1) Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the Limitations section of the AFM by inserting a copy of Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR695, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016; or Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR699, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016; as applicable; and revise the Abnormal Procedures section of the AFM by inserting a copy of Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR700, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016. These temporary revisions introduce a fuel limitation for certain types of fuel and a fuel gravity feed ceiling procedure for airplanes equipped with jet pumps. Thereafter, operate the airplane according to the limitation and procedure in the applicable temporary revision.

(2) When the information in Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR695, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016; or Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR699, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016; as applicable; and Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR700, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016; has been included in the general revisions of the AFM, the general revisions may be inserted in the AFM, and the temporary revisions may be removed.

(h) Special Flight Permits

Special flight permits, as described in Section 21.197 and Section 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199), are not allowed.

(i) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your Start Printed Page 90974request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone: 425-227-1405; fax: 425-227-1149. Information may be emailed to: 9-ANM-116-AMOC-REQUESTS@faa.gov. Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

(2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA). If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

(j) Related Information

Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA AD 2016-0205, dated October 13, 2016, for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-9515.

(k) Material Incorporated by Reference

(1) The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference (IBR) of the service information listed in this paragraph under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.

(2) You must use this service information as applicable to do the actions required by this AD, unless this AD specifies otherwise.

(i) Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR695, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016.

(ii) Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR699, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016.

(iii) Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321 Temporary Revision TR700, Issue 1.0, dated August 1, 2016.

(3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone: +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax: +33 5 61 93 44 51; email: account.airworth-eas@airbus.com; Internet: http://www.airbus.com.

(4) You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

(5) You may view this service information that is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/​federal-register/​cfr/​ibr-locations.html.

Start Signature

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 2, 2016.

Michael Kaszycki,

Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2016-30036 Filed 12-15-16; 8:45 am]

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